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Canadian aircraft take part in NORAD exercise

CF-18 fighter jets, Cormorant helicopters and a Hercules search and rescue aircraft are part of Canada’s contingent to the North American Aerospace Defence’s annual Vigilant Shield field exercise.

The live-fly field training exercise, which runs from October 17 to 21, is part of a larger series of annual NORAD Vigilant Shield 17 exercises that take place throughout the United States and Canada.

During this year’s exercise), forces supporting NORAD will deploy and conduct air sovereignty operations in the far north and the high Arctic demonstrating the ability to detect, identify, and meet possible threats in some of the most remote regions in the world.

The exercise provides valuable and concrete field training, involving multiple NORAD regions and the deployment of air assets to locations in northern Canada and the United States, allowing NORAD to maintain a credible, flexible, and ready capability to respond to a variety of threats and situations.

Vigilant Shield 17 builds previous years’ training successes when deploying air assets and personnel to the far north to exercise sovereignty operations in North America’s northern aerospace and in the high Arctic.

This exercise provides crucial training opportunities for numerous military personnel with a variety of aircraft and assets from Canada and the United States to improve interoperability and to demonstrate NORAD’s ability to defend North America.

The exercise will see the deployment of:

  • Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-18 Hornets to Inuvik, N.W.T.;
  • S. Air Force (USAF) F-15 Eagle fighter jets to Yellowknife, N.W.T.;
  • USAF E-3 Sentry airborne early warning and control aircraft and KC-135 Stratotankers to 5 Wing Goose Bay, N.L.;
  • an RCAF CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue (SAR) helicopter and 42 Radar Squadron to Canadian Forces Station Alert;
  • an RCAF CH-149 Cormorant SAR helicopter and CC-130H Hercules SAR aircraft to the USAF’s Point Barrow Long Range Radar Site in Alaska; and
  • Canadian Army personnel to provide on-site security support.

NORAD forces participating in the live-fly exercise will be commanded by Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters in Winnipeg, Man., and coordinated through the Canadian Air Defence Sector at 22 Wing North Bay, Ont.

The deployment of such a large number of aircraft and personnel to Inuvik, Yellowknife, and 5 Wing Goose Bay for the live-fly field training portion of Exercise Vigilant Shield 17 will allow those locations to demonstrate their ability to serve as valuable sites in support of NORAD’s mission and their role in the defence of North America.

Author: Nestor Arellano

Nestor Arellano is editor of Vanguard Magazine. Nestor is a seasoned journalist who has written extensively on defence and military industry issues as well as technology and business developments. He is also associate editor of Vanguard's sister publication, IT in Canada.

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